Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Recital

This past Saturday, Miss M had her holiday ballet recital.  The studio where she dances put on two shows for residents of a local nursing home. 

The girls all did great, and the residents enjoyed the show. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Falling Leaves

Yes, it is December and that usually means snow-themed activities.  However, we have been unseasonally warm up until this week.  For us, the leaves are just now starting to fall off the trees.  Miss M and The Bug took the opportunity to play while Daddy was raking this weekend.

 The Bug also did a craft cutting and gluing paper leaves onto a tree.

Of course, our wacky weather followed up 80 degree days with a light dusting of snow and freezing temperatures today, so I guess one week was all the fall we get this year!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: First Week of Advent

This year, the kids were excited to put their shoes out the night before the feast day of Saint Nicholas.  In the morning, they found candy canes and a small toy left for them!  Chocolate coins are traditional, but I couldn't find any that fit with our food restrictions, so instead, for afternoon tea, we had hot chocolate with peppermint whipped cream to celebrate.

We are not doing the Truth in the Tinsel in its entirety this year, but Miss M is doing some of the days when they match up with our daily devotions.  She loved making the stained glass candle craft, which is hanging in the window near our table now.


One of the activities in our Advent calendar this week was to read a Christmas book by flashlight.  This was the highlight of the week for The Bug, who is crazy about flashlights.

We did do regular school this week, including a fun experiment with electricity with some friends of ours, but of course I forgot to take my camera with us!

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Crafts & Advent Plans

On Saturday, the kids started the season with a trip to the Home Depot kids workshop and made some holiday picture frames.  (Neither Miss M nor The Bug wanted to use red or green paint).

This weekend they also made the first ornaments of the season.  The Bug made the gold glittered salt dough person, Miss M made the others using a combination of markers and glitter.  And the popsicle stick Rudolph is hers also.

For Advent, we are following many of our traditions, and adding in only one new element this year.  We will be:
  • Lighting advent candles and saying our special prayers each evening after dinner.  We will also be celebrating the Saint and Feast days that occur during Advent.
  • Hanging ornaments on our Jesse Tree and doing the accompanying Bible readings.  We are using the printable ornaments that came with our Family Faith Formation program this year.
  • Doing our usual Advent calendar.  This year the pockets mainly contain activities including; stringing popcorn and cranberries for the birds, driving to see Christmas lights, making candy cane ice cream, watching Polar Express, and baking gluten-free holiday cookies.
  • We are reading one book each day for the month of December, although I am not doing accompanying crafts this year.  So far we have read an old favorite, Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, and a new favorite Christmas Mouseling by Dori Chaconas.
  • New to us this year is using the free Advent Adventures from Holy Heroes. I think the combination of videos, online activities and daily novena will give that extra spark that we need this year!
Unlike in years past, we won't be taking a break from school this whole month.  I have changed some of our lessons to reflect the season a bit more, but we will be continuing on with school through December 21.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Playing Games

The Bug has reached the age where he is very interested in playing games.  The other day for Family Night, we got out the Candyland and Chutes and Ladder and taught him how to play.  He needed help with the counting, but he got the concepts of the games and LOVED playing with his siblings.  He kept saying "I did it" every time he took a turn.

Zoologic and Royal Rescue are two of our other games that he loves to have me set up for him. 

Right now he does mostly stacking and sorting with the pieces, and I love how he is adapting the games to his own level while still gaining so much from them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Science: Blood Cells

We are continuing with our study of the human body using Real Science Odyssey: Life.  One of the experiments we did had to do with our blood cells.  We used candy, lentils, lima beans and karo syrup to represent the components of our blood. 

Then, Miss M did a lab sheet to explain what component each item represented (plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets) and the jobs each does.  She loved figuring out that our blood looks red because of the red blood cells, but she did point out that our blood isn't sticky like the karo syrup was!

Miss M was really focused during this experiment, and the next time she got a paper cut she informed me she did not need a band-aid because her platelets would help it stop bleeding. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blogging Break is Over

So I took an unintentional blog break the last three weeks.  We had several rounds of illnesses make their way through the house, we are remodeling our master bathroom, and of course the Thanksgiving Holiday preparations.  Somehow, while we were busy doing, I wasn't as busy blogging!

Here are a few highlights from the last few weeks:  Coloring a LOT of turkey pictures;

Cutting, cutting and more cutting;

And to keep it real, this is what his desk space normally looks like!

Helping Daddy install a new garbage disposal;

The Bug did a Thanksgiving sort (found here);

Stringing cheerio and pipe cleaner bird feeders;

And doing some string art with our homeschool group.  The directions can be found over at Raising the Cameron Clan.

We did have a few days crisp enough to count as fall, although most of our November has been above 70 degrees.  Either way it's meant lots of time outside.

That's a small glimpse into our last few weeks!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hands-On History

We are still studying the early Egyptians, and Miss M has greatly enjoyed the projects we are doing. She made a paper diagram of the Nile River, complete with a crocodile to swim it one day.  (These are from the Evan Moor History Pockets.)

Next, she colored and cut out some Egyptian paper dolls to play with.  These are a huge hit!

We also began our timeline finally.  We are using the Story of the World cards from Mary at Tending Our Lords Garden, glued onto some poster board on the wall just outside our schoolroom.  I think having the picture is a great help to Miss M in remembering what each one represents.

She has done some other projects, including mummifying an apple in salt and baking soda,

and building a pyramid out of Legos complete with a mini Lego figure entombed inside.

So far our hands-on approach is paying off, as she is loving history almost as much as her big brother does.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween on The Yellow Brick Road

The kids (and I) all had costumes from The Wizard of Oz this year.  As usual, my very talented mother had made the costumes for us all.  Miss M was Dorothy, The Boyscout was the Tin Man, The Bug was the Scarecrow and I was Glenda the good witch.

They had a great time going as characters from one of their new favorite movies.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sending Hugs In the Mail

My mom lives 2,500 miles away from us.  We talk to her almost every day, and the kids like to Skype with her when they can, but it's not the same as seeing her in person.  I saw this cute idea for a Valentine and knew it would be perfect to adapt for sending hugs to Grandma.

First, the kids each traced their hands and cut them out (with help in The Bug's case). 

 Next, we measured a length of ribbon to match each child's arm span from wrist to wrist.  We wrote messages on the hands, and attached them to the ribbon.

The hugs were placed in an envelope and mailed to Grandma.

Miss M and The Bug had a great time with this craft, and I know my Mom liked receiving their hugs in the mail.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Glimpse Into Kindergarten

I haven't done a wrap-up for Miss M in a while so I thought it was time.  Here are a few of the things we have been working on in Kindergarten. 

Miss M worked on some fall vocabulary using the fall Read, Build, Write cards from Homeschool Creations.  In this case, she used letter dice to build the words and wrote them on her dry erase board.

To make math a bit more interesting this year, I have been adding in some games after her Saxon lesson is done.  Some of her favorites have been the Frankenstein 100s chart from Lil Country Kindergarten,

and a puzzle I made her by cutting up a blank 100s chart she had to put back together.  We did her math problems on the dry erase easel one day this week, which was another hit.

Miss M enjoyed making a clay tablet and writing in cuneiform on it as part of our history lesson.  Doing these hands-on projects is not just fun, I can really see the connections it helps her make with our readings.

For art one day, both Miss M and The Bug celebrated nature by making leaf rubbings with the first leaves of fall.

We are reading Charlotte's Web for our current read-aloud, and Miss M and The Bug are both enjoying it.  The Boyscout just finished Fahrenheit 451 and is moving into Animal Farm, so I guess we have an unintentional barnyard theme right now in literature!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tot School: All About Fall

Tot School 
The Bug is 28 months old

Since the weather in this part of the country is still in the 80s and the leaves on the trees have just begun to change colors, it is hard to think in terms of fall.  However, that is just what we did this week.

I printed The Bug a few items from the Fall Tot Pack from 2 Teaching Mommies to work on.  First, he matched different leaves to each other.  I line up the first set of the pictures and then hand him the second cards in random order and he finds the match.  He loves doing this.

I also gave him some pictures of different-sized pumpkins and had him line them up in order.  I modeled it for him first, but was still surprised at how well he did with this.

We also worked on leaf shapes, with the oval and hexagon being new shapes this week for The Bug.

The Bug has a bunch of small blank number books that I made him.  Normally we use stickers to fill them in, but this week he stamped the corresponding number of leaves on each page for the numbers 1 through 6.

Also for math he worked with the counting cubes.  I was surprised when he actually tried to copy a pattern from the book page!

We did have a few leaves that fell from our trees, so we gathered them up and the kids did leaf rubbings.  The Bug really liked doing this craft, although he did need some help rubbing his crayon hard enough.

We recycled a craft The Boyscout did when he was little, and made popcorn shakers.  First you decorate a paper lunch sack with markers, stickers or whatever else you want.

Then you put a few Tablespoons of unpopped popcorn into a plastic baggie.  (You can tape this shut for safety reasons since popcorn is a choking hazard.)

Put the baggie inside the paper sack, fold down the top and staple or tape it shut.  Now shake!  

Finally, I had some letter dice out for Miss M to use.  The Bug decided they were perfect for stacking towers.

And finally, my favorite picture of the week.

Just because you don't leave the house for school doesn't mean you don't need a backpack!